a government's priorities should always be...
the health of its population, mental, financial, physical and cultural.
the health of the nation as a nation (national pride, national ethics, national law), cultural stability (strong education, research/development, health), financial groundedness (balanced budget, fair and compensatory trade, proper inflationary concerns, strong middle-class, protection for poor, protection from wealthy), security of physical national elements (power, water, natural resources, government facilities, healthy transportation - highways, airports) and our foreign representation, reputation and involvement (spreading peace and stability elsewhere so that we are at peace at home... if we had not butchered the Saudi Arabian elite and assailed the Soviet Union, Bin Ladin wouldn't hate us enough to bring about 9/11's changes... yes, we brought the state of terrorism upon ourselves or rather the Republican Guard -Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush 2... the Neo-Con Facists brought us to this state... and why? for their personal profit, not our country's wellbeing).
with that in mind, we should strenghten our resolve around core eroding American values, like Our Constitutional rights, our education, our foreign relations, our national debt and huge trade deficit, our corporate reliability on foreign outsource for everything, including labor and resources. We should eliminate crime by helping the poor stabilize so they don't need to steal, by eradicating drugs and their need, by imprisoning those who commit the white collar corporate raping of the american people like Enron and Halliburton, AT&T, etc. etc. etc. etc.
But the number one priority for this country is without a doubt increasing our educational standards and means to catchup with the rest of the world. Right now, our education standards as a nation in terms of public schools is comparable with the lower third world. Look at Asia and Europe for what real educational systems can do.
Without strong proper education, criminality and tyranny by the prosperous few will prevail over the needs of the many.